To The Editor:
I am happy to say after difficult negotiations we have made sure that our students who depend on the MTA’s Student MetroCard program will not be short changed.
Last December, I vowed that I would not let this happen and with the help of my colleagues in government this promise I have kept that promise. This is an investment in our children’s education because this program allows them to get to and from school without saddling their parents with an extra financial burden in these very difficult economic times.
Cutting discounts for students was one of several proposals the MTA made in December 2009 to help close an estimated $800 million budget shortfall. Transit officials insisted that financing for such a program should come from the city and state, not the transportation authority, an arrangement that is common in most cities. In New York, the city and state have contributed to the program since 1995.
These Student MetroCards are not only discounted fares to go to school they also pay for after school tutoring, for soccer and other extra-curricular activities that enhance the quality of the students’ education. Without them this educational quality would be seriously compromised. This is one of the things that we do as legislators that we can truly feel good about – help at-risk young people get a decent education. Our children and students are the leaders of tomorrow.
Student MetroCards are extremely important for all students especially those who live in low-income households. Many students receiving public school education are in fact persons who come from middle class to low income homes. This means that students who struggle to meet basic needs like housing, food, clothing, and other necessities would have had to continue to prioritize what is more important.
Imaging being a student and having to choose between getting an education and missing a meal or two so you can afford to pay for transportation to get to school. Our students should never have to make these choices.
Parents should not be put in a position where they have to keep students from school because the money that they have is already allocated to food, shelter and clothing.
This cash infusion in the MTA is our commitment to making sure that our children get the best possible education.
John L. Sampson
N.Y. State Senate